Insecurity in relationships is not necessarily uncommon or frightening. For insecure women, dating can seem a little bit daunting and spark several causes of worry.
Raymond, who got divorced with his wife after two years of marriage found her constant vigilance on him claustrophobic. “She would throw a fit if I spoke to a female colleague or my female neighbor, the female grocery store manager or the lady flight attendant. Her insecurity was harrowing.”
Insecurity can creep into your life in many ways. It can affect your social skills and your physical health too. From migraines to diabetes – these psychosomatic issues may throw your life out of gear. Insecurity may also affect your friendships negatively. “It can reduce your life to 1/4th of its optimum contentment capacity,” says Kavita Panyam, a counselling psychologist.
She also adds, “Not only can too much insecurity in a woman lead to social maladaptation but also lead to trust issues. Insecure women might constantly feel someone is trying to exploit them.”
What Causes Insecurity In A Woman?
In society, a lot more is expected from women than men. They are under constant pressure from their family, friends, co-workers and bosses. These pressures can contribute to a negative self-image, self-doubt and a tremendous amount of anxiety.
Sometimes, if it becomes unduly exaggerated, it can lead to other psycho-social problems like eating disorders.
Here are some underlying reasons that can trigger female insecurities:
Related Reading: 5 Things Men Do To Make Women Feel Insecure
1. Beauty Standards
Every society collectively agrees upon what they consider beautiful and what they do not. These rigid margins can negatively hamper the self-image of many women. She can start to feel insecure about her looks if she feels she does not match up to these standards of beauty.
“The foremost thing that causes insecurity in a woman is her looks. Her physique, complexion, voice and the way she carries herself and how these things are received by the external world. Especially if they are scrutinized negatively by her family,” according to Kavita.
2. Heartbreak from previous relationships
When a woman has undergone a heartbreak or has been cheated on, it can make her question her own stake in that relationship. She might blame herself and that could affect her self-esteem and future relationships too.
A woman will become insecure in a relationship when she starts constantly worrying about a man leaving her again and trace that to her own faults and weaknesses. She would feel not worthy enough for the other person. She will always consider herself ‘out of his league’.
3. A misstep or failure
When a person makes a giant mistake in their lives, it can alter the way they perceive themselves. A wrong job or a terrifyingly bad decision can seem to make everything in one’s life go haywire.
Moreover, excessive judgment about the same can incite insecurity in a woman. Such accidents, whether literal or emotional, can produce doubt in oneself and in life. Women who undergo this may worry constantly about taking other bigger life decisions and be afraid of failure.
Related Reading: What does the judgemental society offer our liberated women?
Growing up under the radar of toxic parents can be difficult for any woman. Suffocating them with expectations and setting high standards for young people can sometimes negatively affect their morale. Moreover, constant comparisons with the achievements of other folks will make anyone feel smaller and insignificant.
When a woman undergoes familial pressure from the beginning, she is likely to face anxiety in her future. This becomes a cycle and only further deepens the trenches of insecurity and dissatisfaction with oneself.
12 Signs Of An Insecure Woman
Dating an insecure woman can be a challenging thing for men. A man does not want to constantly walk on eggshells around his partner. This can truly change the way that relationship operates.
These are some important signs of insecurity that women often display when they are dissatisfied with themselves. Watching out for these signs is the key to understanding your behaviour and how it may affect those around you.
1. Becoming green with jealousy
An insecure woman is also one that easily feels jealous. A normal amount of jealousy is understandable. It reminds both partners of who is really important to them. However, when this emotion becomes unhinged, it can create an extremely toxic environment.
This may hinder yours and your partner’s interactions with friends and other people and can evolve into a very controlled and nasty environment.
2. Being a control freak
Since an insecure woman operates from a place of lack of control over her life and her attributes, she will hanker to control other aspects of her life. An important aspect of her life will be her partner. As a partner herself, she might constantly try to dictate terms and throw her decisions onto her other half.
From micromanaging every detail of her partner’s everyday life to constantly nagging them about their individual decisions, she may create an intimidating atmosphere in the relationship.
Such a woman will weave herself completely into her partner’s life. ‘’For example, if an insecure woman’s husband comes home late one night, she might become very agitated and violent,’’ says Kavita.
3. Easily offended or hurt
One of the most obvious signs of insecurity is being easily hurt by somebody’s words or actions. Women who are secure are thick-skinned and can take a little criticism. An insecure woman does not possess the same kind of confidence. A little harmless banter or a playful joke may also incite negative feelings in her.
Such jokes might make her feel smaller and insignificant.
4. In constant need of compliments
A woman insecure in a relationship will be in desperate need for validation from her partner. To be able to believe that her partner still loves her, she will demand that he express and show it to her often. When she gets dressed up or gets a new haircut, she will pay strong attention to whether she receives compliments or not.
Other people’s opinions in extreme cases, will define how she feels about herself. She will also use those compliments as a yardstick to measure her degree of worth.
5. Being critical of other women
To subconsciously uplift herself, an insecure woman will negatively attack other women and perhaps even men. Such effects of insecurity can make her personality very unpleasant. She will be quick to identify and point out the things that other people lack.
This attempt at improving her own image in her own eyes is actually not helpful at all. By bringing others down, she will never be able to climb the ladder herself. Being unable to compliment or be happy for others will fundamentally make her bitter towards people.
6. Unable to accept her partner’s successes
A partner who loves you should always be happy for you and express pride in your achievements. However, an insecure partner drains a relationship by constantly comparing themselves.
Rather than being a pillar of support, she will let her anxiety crumble and spill all over the place. Instead of focusing on her lover’s good work, an insecure woman will only focus on the things that she lacks.
She might even turn their successes into an excuse to gain sympathy for herself.
7. Sensitivity to body image triggers
A woman who is insecure about her looks will view negatively her appearance, weight and the way she carries herself. A tiny comment, remark or indirect expression on her body might plummet her sense of self-worth and make her feel conscious about her body.
She will constantly worry about how she looks, and even more importantly, how people are viewing her. She will need a repetitive reminder to feel good enough.
8. They try to please everyone around them
One of the most important things to evaluate in this list of female insecurities is how these women respond to people around them. Even though they might dislike a person, they will go the extra mile to show that they are interested to gain their social sanction. These women feel better about themselves by being in the good books of others.
They are always concerned with pleasing and aligning their personality with that of other people’s. They situationally morph their words and actions to charm everyone around them.
“This need for validation stems from their childhood. Even constantly asking her mother what she should wear can be a sign of insecurity later on in her life. There is no end to it. It gets worse as she grows up,” says Kavita.
9. Aggressively shielding themselves
Insecure women always want to have the upper hand in an argument. They always feel the need to be correct in a situation. They are bad at accepting criticism and will go to any length to defend their point of view. Arguing with an insecure partner drains relationships because they are terrible listeners.
They only worry about defending themselves and being considered right in their actions. They stop being receptive to the opposing rationale and will fight out their cause without correctly evaluating its own merit. Their anger not only affects others but themselves too.
10. Attention seeking activities
One of the troubling effects of insecurity can be the repetitive indulgence in attention-seeking activities. These women try to catch attention by wearing eye-catching outfits, behaving promiscuously or being abnormally loud.
“They might even overdo mollycoddling and pampering others which are not exactly affection. Pampering is not affection. It can become a habit unless they go for therapy,’’ Kavita points out. While it is okay to an extent and can just be one’s own personality, it is important to identify when it is stemming from one’s insecurity.
In many cases, it is a mere facade used to effectively hide the underlying self-doubt.
11.Comparing herself to her partner’s exes
A woman insecure in a relationship might desperately want to outperform her partner’s ex. She will always want to prove herself better than her partner’s previous romances. Any topics of the ex will arouse negative and concerned feelings in her. Not only will she try to outperform them, but also seek immense approval and validation in comparison to them.
12. Playing the victim
Insecure women find it very difficult to accept their mistakes or lapses in judgment. During arguments, she will tend to arouse guilt in others by making herself seem weaker, more feeble and helpless.
This façade is counterproductive to the conflicts and concerns at hand. She might play the victim card often and turn every situation into one where she is oppressed or is being emotionally tormented by other people.
Related Reading: 12 Warning Signs Of Gaslighting And 5 Ways To Deal With It
5 Ways To Avoid Being Insecure
Insecurity is not exclusive to women neither is it always all-pervasive. It can come and go in bouts at various points in your life. A heated quarrel, an uneasy encounter, a past problem – any of these things can send a person into the downward spiral of feeling insecure about themselves.
To avoid projecting our internal problems onto our relationships, here are a few key ways to avoid being insecure:
1. Be around the people you love
The people you love and the people who love you will never bring you down or upturn your morale. Even when they criticize you, they do it out of plain concern and worry. If you identify with the signs of insecure women, spending more time with the people who really know you can help you re-invigorate the qualities in yourself which you thought you had lost.
2. Keep yourself busy
When you are focussing all your energies on being productive, you feel more confident in yourself as a person. The more time you spend overthinking, worrying and judging yourself, the more time you waste on feeling sorry for yourself.
Finding work, a hobby or activity to channel your faculties into can be a great way to neutralize the effects of insecurity.
3. Treat Yourself
Set milestones that you want to achieve – whether emotional, physical or career-oriented. When you pass those hurdles, revel in a sense of self-love and treat yourself to something you enjoy.
From a rom-com to a hearty meal to a new dress – anything works! By rewarding yourself, you will accept and acknowledge your own achievements and gradually stop requiring other people to do it for you. You can be enough for yourself. Keep reminding yourself that to break free from the classic patterns that insecure women display.
Related Reading: Can Healthy Jealousy Help You Build Stronger Relationships?
4. Confront your personal issues
Successful and happy people accept their flaws wholeheartedly. They embrace the fact that while perfection is something to aspire to, it cannot be achieved in entirety. Being flawless should not be the goal. Being comfortable with your flaws should be. Your issues might run very deep and confronting them head-on can help you take control of your life in a more wholesome way.
Identify your mistakes and your problems and use them to make sense of your actions. Practice mindfulness and journaling. “Anxiety is always about the past or the future. The threat is not in your present. Acceptance with committed action is extremely important,” says Kavita.
5. Get the help you need
If repeated efforts over a long period of time are still not proving helpful to you, you may want to consider getting professional help. It is okay to not be able to conquer this journey by yourself.
Expert help can allow you to unlock potentials and practice exercises that you might not be aware of otherwise.
“Sometimes too much negative reinforcement can stay with a person for life and people should be open to therapy to come out of it,” Kavita reiterates. If you need the right guidance to shake off insecure tendencies, our panel of consulting experts is only a click away.